IU School of Medicine awarded prestigious $2.1 million grant to study traumatic brain injury

  • Sept. 28, 2017

Indiana University School of Medicine, in partnership with the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, has been awarded a $2.1 million grant to study traumatic brain injury over five years as one of 16 National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems sites in the country.

The grant will continue to fund the work of IU physician-scientists and their contributions to a leading national network of researchers studying and treating traumatic brain injury and how it affects the lives of patients and their families.

“This award recognizes that the IU School of Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana have an excellent continuum of care, a solid research plan and world-renowned clinical researchers,” said Flora Hammond, MD, chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Covalt Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. “This work will lead to a deeper understanding of life-long challenges that occur following traumatic brain injury, and test new treatment methods, while helping current patients by sharing that information with clinicians and researchers worldwide.” 

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.

Dr. Hammond said emotional and behavioral challenges are among the most common problems caused by brain injury.

“Our TBI Model Systems projects will study emotional self-awareness and the ability to reduce irritability and aggression through treatment,” said Dr. Hammond, who is also chief of medical affairs at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. “Irritability and aggression are major problems that affect the lives of many who suffer traumatic brain injury as well as their families.” “We hope to help patients and families better manage the effects of brain injury.” 

Dr. Hammond recently published a study on the promising ability of the drug Amantadine to curb aggression in traumatic brain injury patients. She said the research is important because it expands treatment options for patients with aggression, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives and ability to function. 

The project will enable the enrollment of individuals with traumatic brain injury into a national database that has been in place for 25 years and enrolled more than 15,000 people. Dr. Hammond said this longitudinal database has been an invaluable resource in learning about the long-term needs of people with brain injury so that we can improve care delivery and outcomes.

Flora Hammond

Flora Hammond, MD

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Andrea Zeek